News Roundup for May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024
Receive the roundup in your inbox every morning!

J Street works to promote an open, honest and rigorous conversation about Israel. The opinions reflected in articles posted in the News Roundup do not necessarily reflect J Street’s positions, and their posting does not constitute an endorsement from J Street.

J Street In the News

J Street on NSM-20 Report: Biden Administration Falls Short, J Street
“To our disappointment, however, the initial NSM-20 report delivered Friday falls short. Despite raising extremely serious concerns about violations of both US and international law, the administration has avoided the tough question of what to do in the face of the obvious failures – acknowledged in the report and widely publicly reported – on the part of the Israeli government to comply with American and international law.”

In Maryland, AIPAC Has Poured $4.2M Into a Congressional Primary Where Israel Is Not an Issue, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
“Dunn and Elfreth started the campaign with virtually identical positions on Israel, backing emergency defense funding for its war against Hamas, a bottom line for AIPAC. In direct campaign funding, Dunn is beating Elfreth, $4.5 million to $1.45 million. But the UDP funding has given the two candidates similar war chests. The effect of the unsolicited giving has been to drive Dunn to accept the endorsement of J Street, the dovish Jewish Middle East lobby that is AIPAC’s chief rival. He is also echoing UDP’s harshest critics, who say the super PAC is a front for wealthy Republican donors who want to meddle in Democratic races.”

Top News and Analysis

Talks over Gaza Ceasefire at Stalemate after Rafah Operation, Qatar PM Says, Reuters
Israeli tanks forged deeper into eastern Rafah, reaching some residential districts, on Tuesday, stepping up an offensive in the city where more than a million people had been sheltering after being displaced in seven months of war. Sheikh Mohammed, whose country has mediated heavily between Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Israel throughout the seven-month conflict, said Qatar would keep working to resolve the situation.

Israel’s ‘Total Victory’ in Gaza Is Unlikely, Top US Official Says, Politico
Speaking at the NATO Youth Summit in Miami, Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said the U.S. has been “struggling over what the theory of victory is” in Gaza. “Sometimes when we listen closely to Israeli leaders, they talked about mostly the idea of some sort of sweeping victory on the battlefield, total victory,” Campbell said. “I don’t think we believe that that is likely or possible.”

Israel’s Return to Areas of Gaza It Said Were Clear of Hamas Raises Doubts About Its Military Strategy, CNN
Blinken said any initial success in Israel’s invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah – which Washington has strongly opposed – is “not sustainable.” The top diplomat criticized Israel for neither having a “credible plan to protect civilians,” nor a post-war plan for Gaza. “We’re seeing parts of Gaza that Israel has cleared of Hamas, where Hamas is coming back, including in the north, including in Khan Younis,” Blinken said.

UN Says Overall Death Count in Gaza Remains Unchanged after Revising Source of Data, Haaretz
According to a UN report released on Monday, the Health Ministry in Gaza reported that, as of April 30, it had identified 24,686 out of 34,622 reported deaths in Gaza, including 7,797 children, 4,959 women, 1,924 elderly people, and 10,006 men.


Israeli Protesters Block Aid Convoy Headed to Gaza, Reuters
Israeli protesters blocked aid trucks headed for Gaza on Monday, strewing food packages on the road in the latest in a series of incidents that have come as Israel has pledged to allow uninterrupted humanitarian supplies into the besieged enclave.

UN Staff Member Killed in Attack on Car Marked With UN Flag in Rafah, The Washington Post
A U.N. staff member employed by the U.N. Department of Safety and Security was killed while traveling in a U.N. vehicle from Rafah to the European Hospital in the southwest corner of Khan Younis, according to a statement Monday by Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the secretary general. Another U.N. staffer was injured in the attack.

Israeli Tanks Push into Gaza’s Rafah, as Displaced Civilians Flee Again, Reuters
The tanks advanced this morning west of Salahuddin Road into the Brzail and Jneina neighbourhoods. They are in the streets inside the built-up area and there are clashes, one resident told Reuters via a chat app. Video on social media showed one tank on George Street in Al-Jneina neighbourhood.

Israel Proposes Palestinian Authority Unofficially Operate Rafah Crossing, Axios
One of Israel’s conditions was that personnel sent to the crossing would not act as members of the Palestinian Authority, but be defined as a local aid committee, senior Israeli, American and Palestinian officials told Axios. Senior U.S. officials said that the Israeli condition infuriated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his advisers, who made it clear to the U.S. and Israel that they would not agree to operate in the Rafah crossing “undercover.”

Activists Hold a Ceremony Reflecting on Both Israeli and Palestinian Losses, The New York Times
The ceremony, which was screened at more than 200 venues in Israel, spoke to the diversity and complexity of opinion within Israeli society about the issue. Several speakers discussed their hope for an end to generations of bloodshed, and for peace. Among the most stark contributions came from Palestinian speakers who described conditions in Gaza.

Army Officer Resigns in Protest of US Support for Israel in Gaza, The Washington Post
A US Army officer working at the Defense Intelligence Agency has resigned from the military, citing his objection to Israel’s war in Gaza, according to an open letter he published online Monday saying he is distressed that his work has contributed to the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

As Israel and Egypt Spar, Aid to Gaza Dries Up, The New York Times
Just a few weeks ago, Israel, under extraordinary international pressure to respond to warnings of imminent famine in the Gaza Strip, announced new steps to increase humanitarian aid. But after an Israeli military incursion into the southern city of Rafah this week, the flow of aid has come to a near-total stop, first closed off by Israel and then further restricted, officials say, by Egypt.

Opinion and Analysis

Will Zionism Survive the War?, The Washington Post
Yuval Noah Harari writes, “Some people argue that the Netanyahu coalition’s extremism is the inevitable fruit of Zionism. Yet this is akin to arguing that patriotism inevitably leads to extremism, and that anyone who begins by displaying the national flag at home must end by fomenting hate and violence. Such historical determinism is empirically unfounded and politically dangerous, since it grants extremists a monopoly over people’s national feelings. Patriotism isn’t bigotry.”

Will Israel Survive to Celebrate 100 Years? Only if Netanyahu Resigns, Haartez
The Haaretz Editorial Board shares, “But before Israel continues its gallop toward making Netanyahu’s warning about not reaching the lifespan of the ancient Hasmonean state a reality, the prime minister can still take a vital step to save it. He must resign, bear responsibility for the October 7 calamity and the failures of the war, and free Israel from the perils of his horror-show government. This offers the only possibility to end the war and repair the state and its foreign relations, so that it may survive to celebrate its centennial.”

Why Iran and Israel Stepped Back From the Brink, Foreign Affairs
Vali Nasr states, “The prospect of another dangerous escalation looms over the region. An Israeli incursion into Rafah could precipitate another confrontation if Iran and its allies feel compelled to take action as the humanitarian crisis there worsens or to prevent the annihilation of Hamas. A long-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, too, could set the stage for further conflict, because it would free Israel to focus on Hezbollah.”

How Is Any of This Making Israel More Secure?, The Washington Post
Eugene Robinson argues, “Nature abhors a vacuum, which is what Israel is unwisely creating. On orders from Netanyahu and his war cabinet, the Israel Defense Forces eliminated the Hamas governing apparatus in the northern part of Gaza. But the IDF then moved on, heading south, without leaving any new system of authority in place. It was only a matter of time before the remnants of Hamas emerged to reimpose some semblance of order.”